Ten Questions Concerning the Impact of Environmental Stress on Office Workers

Posted on by Stephen Gee

We regularly face stress during our everyday activities, to the extent that stress is recognized by the World Health Organization as the epidemic of the 21st century. Stress is how humans respond physically and psychologically to adjustments, experiences, conditions, and circumstances in their lives. While there are many reasons for stress, work and job pressure remain the main cause. Thus, companies are increasingly interested in creating healthier, more comfortable, and stress-free offices for their workers. The indoor environment can induce environmental stress when it cannot satisfy the individual needs for health and comfort. In fact, office environmental conditions (e.g., thermal, and indoor air conditions, lighting, and noise) and interior design parameters (e.g., office layout, colors, furniture, access to views, distance to window, personal control and biophilic design) have been found to affect office workers’ stress levels. A line of research based on the stress recovery theory offers new insights for establishing offices that limit environmental stress and help with work stress recovery. To that end, this paper answers ten questions that explore the relation between the indoor office-built environment and stress levels among workers. The answers to the ten questions are based on an extensive literature review to draw conclusions from what has been achieved to date. Thus, this study presents a foundation for future environmental stress related research in offices.

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